A link round up

Inspired by the Link Round-ups over at Autostraddle dot com, I decided I should do one for my own blog. I read a lot, I look up things a lot, I research a lot, and usually if I want to know more I leave the tab open in my browser to come back to – not a good use of memory on my computer, but you know what it gets the job done.

Unruly heart of mine

This section is the gay section, it’s news articles, it’s book reviews, it’s history. Being queer is a stupidly large part of my life, so I like reading about it. A lot.

1. When Gay meant happy

This post is technically a book review, but really it’s so much more. It’s full of warmth and community and support and the knowledge that the world used to view sexuality and romance very differently. As someone who has a really hard line of distinction between these two feelings, something in my heart sings so loudly when reading people talk about it. Let’s talk about the difference between love and sex and where they intersect and all in between.

Part of what the post talks about is how discovering queer history is super hard because of the lack of language. It pits us against each other. English teachers swear up and down that Shakespeare wrote from characters perspectives, and using ‘he’ pronouns in his sonnets doesn’t mean he was gay. Sure. Fine. Maybe that’s true. But also, maybe it’s not? Maybe he used ‘he’ pronouns because it was in love with a man and wanted to talk about it. That doesn’t mean that he slept with men, but it also doesn’t mean he did. It’s both none of our business and all of our business! I want to know! We’re so desperate to see ourselves in history and in the world of “The Greats” that we’re choking on a dripping faucet.

Maybe it doesn’t matter if our literary heroes were gay or not, but seeing queer people in our history reminds us that we’re not alone. And parsing the language that they used to talk about it is one step on the road to understanding them more.

The article is largely about When Brooklyn Was Queer by Hugh Ryan. I have yet to read this book but now I want to, and maybe you should too.

2. Our Voices Should be Heard

If you don’t know StoryCorp, you really should. It’s this great collection of real life stories told by real people for the benefit of everyone. Right now they have a particular call out for stories from LGBT+ people who were born before the Stonewall Riots. It’s called Stonewall Outloud. My girlfriend gets tearful every time she meets one of our elders. So much of our community has been put through so much. We’ve suffered and hurt and some of it is wild to even imagine. We need to hear their stories – maybe it’s your story, maybe it’s the story of someone you love, maybe it’s a story yet to be discovered. I don’t know a lot of things, but one thing I do know is that we need to talk about it. We always need to talk about it. It’s healing and it’s helpful. We need to know where we came from. Click the link above to find out more and about whose story you can help uncover.

3. The Gay First Lady

We’ve all known that Eleanor Roosevelt was one of us for a while right? Well this article (published last year so yes I’m late to the party) does a lovely little job of summing up her lesbian-ness (or at least a good review of a book that sums up her lesbian-ness (we’re getting really meta here)). As someone who just eats up stories about our founding queers I thought I would share this all with you.

Technology for Humans

This is the nerdy section (couldn’t be QueerAndNerdy without the queer and then the nerdy now could it?). This is where I let my Geek flag fly. It’s about tech guys, sometimes it’s also about math, but right now it’s about AI and data.

4. Humans still have value

My girlfriend sent me this article today just as I was finishing up this post and it was so good I couldn’t not include it. Obviously, its from Wired, so it doesn’t need my help boosting it, but as someone who has been fascinating by the world of data and innovation for a while, I found this article both pleasing and rousing. Also I’m a bit AO3 user and so my heart goes out to the whole community.

One thing that it touched on briefly but that I want to mention more of, is that the humans behind site are volunteers, a stark contrast to the under paid ghost workers that help the AIs of Google and Amazon. While AO3 embodies willing consent at it’s very core (because who would do something they didn’t love if they aren’t paid), what typical ghost work does can be hugely horrific to the people undertaking them. There was this article that I read a few months ago that talks about how harmful ghost work can be on the people performing it and how companies are ignoring the basic needs of an ever growing work force.

5. Data is really scary guys

I had gone searching the Internet for more stuff at the intersection of technology and the LGBT+ community and I stumbled up on LGBT Technology Partnership & Institute. How I hadn’t found them before, I’ve no idea, but let me just say, they’ve got some cool things going on.

One of the things was this article, written just a few days ago about data privacy, something that impacts everyone regardless of their queer status, but when you intersect queerness with the mix as well as being international, things can get really scary really quickly. Queer people exist in every country in the world, and yes we are prosecuted in over half of them. What if an authoritarian government was suddenly allowed to have data about who in their country was queer? What if being queer was against the law?

Happy Pride month and all that, but we really really have got to get control of our data and ourselves before we’re sold to the highest bidder.

Don’t be a bigot

So, I recently became the Diversity and Inclusion champion for the New York office at my job. That means that I’m in charge of bringing the good word of D&I to the office, a thankless task and yet one that needs to be done. I also had to give a big talk on Tuesday about it and therefore did quite a bit of research.

6. Just do it

This is a delightful piece on Medium about getting out there and doing something. Sara Wachter-Boettcher does a phenomenal job of breaking down the barriers that stand in our waywhen it comes to sharing our ideas. I touched on this same idea in my very first post, Post Zero – Why are we here?, but she brings up something really important that I didn’t touch on. Everything is new for someone. It’s so true and it’s so easy to forget. I’ll let her piece speak for itself so go check it out!

Also, as an aside, I found that piece through Women Talk Design, a delightful org that feels a little bit like the next Emily’s list for the corporate world. I only just found them recently, so I’ll give you a better update once I know more.

7. A New Kind of Company

Because of this talk I did on Tuesday, and just being a part of the D+I in general, I had been searching for inspiration, for guidance, for some kind of thing that would make me go – hey, this makes sense! Let me use you!

I found that thing in Lever. Lever is a recruitment company but they have a set of core values that are different from every other company I’ve come across (except for some non-profits). They don’t just talk the talk of putting employees first, they walk the walk. Their D+I page is linked above, but I’ve included some specific pages that I found useful and like below. Check them out when you get a chance!

I want to leave you with a quote from someone who is quickly becoming my favorite late night talk show host, Samantha Bee. When talking about YouTube and their AI and their policies and all the really crazy stuff that happens as a result. She said:

That’s why blaming YouTube’s algorithm alone wont solve things. The algorithm is only a tool … and like all tools it’s the people making it and using it who are responsible when it harms someone. The algorithm was designed by people. Algorithms are racist because people are racist. Algorithms are greedy because people are greedy.

Samantha Bee

I’ve been saying stuff like this for years. It’s the people behind the algorithms you should be afraid of, not the AI itself.

Have a happy Friday!

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